Saturday, January 22, 2011

Christian Community

These last three days, I felt as though I was living in two different worlds. The first world was in Las Vegas, a city where people go with dreams of hitting it big on the machines. The smell of cigarette smoke is everywhere and the sound of the machines clanging annoys me. People are everywhere at all hours of the day and night, glued to their machines. Some of them appear like zombies. There is an emptiness all around.

I left that world yesterday, eager to return home to my family. My daughter asked me to visit a college campus on the way home. I had heard a lot about this college from staff members who worked at Forest Home in the San Bernardino Mountains where we stayed for family vacations. Azusa Pacific is a private Christian school located in the Los Angeles area.

As I approached the entrance to the school, I felt an aura much different from my visit to Las Vegas. My daughter greeted me with a hug and a big smile. I had arrived just in time for the campus tour. Our tour guide was a second year student. She was so eager to share her life experiences with us. Her enthusiasm spread to the entire group.

I got goosebumps as I walked into the gymnasium. In large print was a sign which read "God First". Our tour guide mentioned that all students have time blocked out of their weekly schedules to attend chapel, THREE TIMES PER WEEK...and they LOVE going. There is an area next to the chapel called the Wailing Wall which is patterned after the original in Israel. Students go to the Wailing Wall to write down their prayers to be placed in the wall. Later, other students read these prayers from their peers and pray silently for intervention.

I left the campus feeling uplifted. An education like this is not cheap, however, an experience like this is priceless. My daughter has narrowed her college choices to two places and Azusa Pacific is a finalist. My prayer for her today is that wherever she ends up, she will live in a community of Christians. Jesus promises us that where two or more are gathered in His name, He is there. This is also my prayer for you today, that you find yourself surrounded by others who love you and accept you.

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